Beth Israel Synagogue Şişli Istanbul

Şişli Beth Israel Synagogue, Efe Sokak No. 4, is a modern building of central importance to the present-day Jewish community of Istanbul, which is probably why it was bombedby Al Qaeda terrorists on November 15, 2003, causing terrible damage, injury, and loss of life.

The building was purchased and converted to a synagogue in 1952. Its long barrel-vaulted “nave” with two side aisles reminds some of church architecture, but in fact the building was once an automobile repair garage.

Decoration is simple and handsome. Unlike the more historic synagogues of the city, located in neighborhoods with dwindling Jewish populations, Beth Israel is located in a desirable middle-class residential area, and is usually active with worshippers every day. Though not heavy with historical or artistic importance, Beth Israel is the center of the city’s Jewish life today.


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